Companies relying on flexible workforces as demand for products remains uncertain

RP news wires

Manpower Inc., a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, says employers are continuing to hire flexible workers due to increased demand for their goods and services coupled with lingering economic uncertainty, as the November U.S. jobs report, released recently by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed the economy only created 39,000 jobs and the unemployment rate crept up to 9.8 percent.

"This uncertainty over the sustainability of the recovery, and the fact that there is yet to be breakthrough in demand, means companies remain committed to doing more with less," said Jeff Joerres, Manpower Inc. chairman and CEO. "However, firms are seeing some demand, so they are taking on flexible or temporary workers until it becomes more robust. The number of temporary jobs created continues to rise accordingly."

While the elevated U.S. jobless rate is now at its highest rate since April, yesterday's four-week moving average of jobless claims dropped down to 431,000, the lowest figure since August 2008. The U.S. economy added 40,000 temporary jobs in November, and temporary jobs have been increasing since September 2009.

Mixed employment signals globally underscore the fact that although the global labor market is generally improving, the mood of optimism should be tempered with caution. With uncertainty in Europe making the headlines, Germany remains a growth engine and employment is up in France as Italy, Ireland, Spain, Greece and Portugal struggle.

In countries such as Germany and Asia-Pacific nations where the recovery is gathering pace, the biggest threat to growth is the mismatch between the skills employers need and the talent available. Where employers are hiring in the U.S., they are being very specific about the skills they are looking for, which means workers who have recently been laid off are faring better than the long-term unemployed.

"Employers are worried that candidates who have been out work for extended periods may have suffered from antiquation of their skills, which is a red flag when they are searching for such specificity of skills," added Joerres. "December and January are traditionally weak months for hiring, so we think it will be a while yet before we see the much-awaited breakthrough in hiring."

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